BLACKSBURG, Va., May 16, 2011 – Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has named Thomas L. “Tom” Thompson of Lubbock, Texas, head of the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences.
“The Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences plays a crucial role in the college’s efforts to improve crop production, soil utilization, and environmental stewardship,” said Alan Grant, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “We are looking forward to Dr. Thompson’s arrival as he will bring a wealth of experience to Virginia Tech and leadership in these critical areas.”
“It is an honor to be selected as head of the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences,” Thompson said. “I am eager to work with the college administration, colleagues in the department, and our stakeholders to add to the outstanding programs of the department. My vision for the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences is that through teamwork we will grow the department’s mission and programs; create new initiatives to achieve excellence in research, teaching, and outreach; and clearly communicate our relevance and contributions to society.”
In his previous position, Thompson was chairman of the Department of Plant and Soil Science at Texas Tech University from 2006 to 2011. In addition to leading the department’s academic and research activities, he has taught undergraduate and graduate courses and advised graduate students. At Texas Tech, he also conducted research on improving water and nutrient management for irrigated crops. Throughout Thompson’s career, his research has focused on crop nutrient and water management, subsurface drip irrigation management, and reclamation of disturbed lands. He was also the J.A. Love Endowed Chair and coordinator of Project Revolution, a $10 million collaborative research venture with Bayer CropScience.
Prior to 2006, Thompson was a professor and Extension specialist in the Department of Soil, Water, and Environmental Science at the University of Arizona. In 2004, he was a visiting professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel.
Throughout his career, Thompson has received numerous awards and honors. In 1994, he received the Teaching Award of Merit from the National Association of Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture. Also in 1994, he was elected a member of Gamma Sigma Delta, the honor society of agriculture, and named the Outstanding Junior Faculty Member for the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Arizona. He is also a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy and the Soil Science Society of America, the past president of the Western Society of Soil Science, and a technical editor of the Soil Science Society of America Journal.
Thompson earned a bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Abilene Christian University, a master’s degree in soil chemistry and fertility from Texas A&M, and a doctorate in soil chemistry from Iowa State University.
He will assume his new position on June 1, 2011.
Nationally ranked among the top research institutions of its kind, Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences focuses on the science and business of living systems through learning, discovery, and engagement. The college’s comprehensive curriculum gives more than 3,100 students in a dozen academic departments a balanced education that ranges from food and fiber production to economics to human health. Students learn from the world’s leading agricultural scientists, who bring the latest science and technology into the classroom.